1978 Lancia Monte Carlo Coupe
Lancia’s Beta Montecarlo started life as a striking design concept by the renowned Italian styling house Pininfarina (it was actually penned by designer Paolo Martini) and was originally slated to be a Fiat before X1/9 project was given the green light. The first car built in-house by Pininfarina, the production Montecarlo was unveiled at the 1975 Geneva Motor Show and had little in common with its more prosaic Lancia siblings apart from the Lampredi-designed twin-cam 2-litre engine and five-speed transaxle. With 122 horsepower delivered at 6000rpm, the Lancia enjoyed sparkling rather than supercar performance, recording a top speed of 190 km/h and a 0-100 km/h time of approximately 9.3 seconds, while the mid-engined layout endowed the chassis with excellent handling characteristics. Two models were available, a coupe and targa-topped spider, which featured a folding canvas roof. The Montecarlo was also briefly marketed in the United States as the Scorpion, all sold as spiders with unattractive Federally-mandated bumpers. Lancia introduced a revised Series 2 model in 1979 with an updated grille, glazed rather than solid rear buttresses and new 14-inch alloy wheels. The engine was given higher compression, Marelli electronic ignition and new carburettors to boost performance, while further detail changes included a new three-spoke Momo wheel and better brakes. Lancia developed the Montecarlo for competition in several very different different arenas, the flame-spitting turbocharged Group 5 monsters winning the 1980 and 1981 World Championships while the car also formed the basis of the 037 Group B, both running in the iconic Martini colours. In total Lancia produced some 7798 examples of the Montecarlo before production ceased in 1982, of which a little more than half were Spiders.